Jeff Slaten and his younger brother Tim were awakened by police officers and told their mother had been murdered. The day of her death was September 4, 1981. Tim Slaten said that he saw the crime scene and knows that he won’t ever be able to unsee the horror.
The murderer that took the mother’s life wasn’t caught- until now. A recent development in this cold case led to some disturbing realizations.
Tim Slaten was back playing football a few weeks after the murder. His teammates and coach were supportive, always rooting for him, and Tim hung his team football photo in his childhood bedroom. He never knew that by doing this, he was staring at a picture of his mother’s killer.
After the tragedy, the boys moved in with their grandparents and slept beside them. They returned to school just weeks later. Jeff Slaten shared that he still feels grief and guilt for not hearing anything that night, for not coming to their mom’s rescue.
Tim returned to football and his teammates and 20-year-old Coach Joe were an important support system. As the investigation played out, authorities conducted a sexual assault test with a rape kit and questioned Linda’s ex-husband. They even questioned her son Jeff to determine whether he played any part in her death.
The case remained unsolved for nearly 40 years, until DNA advancements revealed a dark horse suspect: Coach Joe, whose proper name is Joseph Clinton Mills. Tim kept a team football photo of his mother’s murderer in his bedroom for years.
Now Tim’s childhood memories of car rides to practice take on new meaning. His team football photo sickens him, because the man he once trusted and admired is standing directly behind him in the picture.